The Aggies finished up their season Mar. 19 and 20 at the NCAA Championships at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
Before the Championships, coach Lennie Zalesky said it’s hard to know what to expect heading into the national tournament.
“It’s hard to have expectations,” Zalesky said. “Anything can happen.“
Anything did happen for the Aggies two years ago, as Derek Moore won the national title at the 141-pound class for UC Davis.
This year, however, the spotlight for UC Davis was on the trio of senior Marcos Orozco (125) and sophomores Brandon Low (133) and Ricky Alcala (285).
“The way all three of these guys wrestle, I’d say we have a strong case to win some matches,” Zalesky said before the tournament. “It all has to do with winning one-point matches and getting the right draws.“
It was a tough start for the Aggies, with all three wrestlers losing their opening duals.
Low fell to No. 11 Mike Grey of Cornell, 10-8, while Alcala fell to No. 9 John Wise of Illinois, 9-5. Orozco, meanwhile, fell to Wyoming’s Michael Martinez, 7-1.
Alcala lost in his wrestleback dual to Tucker Lane of Nebraska, 6-0, eliminating him with the two losses.
Low and Orozco both won in their wrestleback matches, advancing to the second day of the tournament.
On the tournament’s second day, Orozco lost his opening match to 10th-seeded Scotti Sentes of Central Michigan, eliminating him from the wrestleback bracket. Orozco finished 1-2 at the championship, giving him 70 wins in his four-year career at UC Davis, good for fifth all-time in school history.
Low was the lone Aggie to post two wins in the tournament, defeating No. 15 Filip Novachkov of Cal Poly in his opening dual on the second day of the tournament. The win against Novachkov avenged three previous losses to the Mustang wrestler.
Low then lost his next dual to No. 8 Joe Baker of Navy, eliminating him from the tournament. Low finished 2-2 in his first career NCAA Tournament showing.
Iowa won its second national tournament in a row, with Ohio State finishing second and Iowa State rounding out the top three. The Aggies placed 55th with 2.5 points.
KYLE HYLAND can be reached at email@example.com.